Episcopal Relief & Development is collaborating with partners on new emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan, Angola, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Pakistan. The organizations are providing food, personal protective equipment and pastoral and emotional support to refugees, indigenous communities, the elderly, women and other marginalized groups. Partners are also educating communities about the coronavirus and how to reduce its potential spread through radio campaigns and training workshops. Episcopal Relief & Development program staff continue to provide technical and financial support to partners in the United States and around the world.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, our partners are finding new and innovative ways to respond to needs that arise in vulnerable communities,” said Nagulan Nesiah, Senior Program Officer, Disaster Risk Reduction, Episcopal Relief & Development.
The Igreja Anglicana em Angola (IAA) has partnered with communities on a radio campaign with information about hygiene and sanitation to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, reaching 60,000 people. IAA has also trained over 9,372 people on COVID-19 prevention strategies. To ensure the health and safety of participants and group leaders, the organization has adapted its existing Savings with Education (SwE groups) to incorporate physical distancing.
With Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, Afghans4Tomorrow (A4T) is working closely with local ministries and national disaster management authorities on a coordinated humanitarian response, including health, education, mental health and food distribution, to support the large number of Afghan refugees who returned from Iran at the start of the pandemic. A4T is providing 800 families in Barikab District with food and educational materials about COVID-19.
Episcopal Relief & Development’s partners in Brazil and Colombia are providing support to indigenous communities with limited access to medical care. Many of these communities are geographically isolated and have been impacted by the slowdown in tourism due to the pandemic. Interfaith Rainforest Initiative (IRI) is distributing non-perishable foods and hygiene kits of soap, cleaning alcohol, toothpaste and antibacterial hand gel to over 500 men and women in Colombia. Servicio Anglicano de Diacono e Desenvolvimento (SADD), the development arm of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, is leveraging its ASA (Water, Soap, Love) volunteers to disseminate face masks, medicine and cleaning supplies. SADD also is supporting the cultivation of sustainable vegetable gardens.
The Dominican Republic has been impacted by hurricanes in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic shutdowns, further complicating the needs of marginalized communities such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and people in situations of conflict or violence. In response, the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic is distributing food, face masks, and pastoral and emotional support to 2,800 people.
Learn more about how Episcopal Relief & Development is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the United States and internationally. This emergency response work is supported by Trinity Church Wall Street and other generous donors. Donations to the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund will support additional emergency assistance to marginalized communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.